Wei-Yin Chen Rumors
Let's take a look at a few notes out of Orioles camp to start out the day: ...
- Late last week, Baltimore had an in-person meeting with J.J. Hardy's agent regarding the initiation of extension discussions, reports Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Though both sides have indicated an interest at keeping the shortstop off of next year's free agent market, Hardy said recently that no talks had taken place.
- Baltimore is expected to announce later today that Nelson Cruz has signed a one-year deal and passed his physical, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. A press conference is likely to occur tomorrow.
- Southpaw starter Wei-Yin Chen, who inked a three-year deal out of Taiwan before the 2012 season, is set to become a free agent after either 2014 or 2015, says Kubatko. (His deal contains a $4.75MM club option with a $372K buyout for 2015.) Though Chen's Baseball-Reference page indicates that he would qualify for arbitration beginning next year, and stay under club control through 2017, that is not the case.
- Multiple sources tell Kubatko that the O's are not in on free agent starter Ervin Santana. The club would need only sacrifice its third-round pick to ink Santana or one of the other remaining free agents tied to draft compensation (Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew), having already given up its first and second to land Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez.
The home run by the Athletics' Adam Rosales that never was on Wednesday could become the shot heard around the world in the debate over instant replay. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle are both advocating for a five-man umpiring crew. Haudricourt rebuts arguments that it is too expensive to add a fifth umpire or too time consuming to expand replay noting MLB is an $8B industry and the discussions over blown calls waste more time than a replay. Slusser supports a fifth umpire to monitor games from a booth in the press box and a neutral crew in New York of perhaps three people to have access to all available replay angles and make the final call on all video reviews. John Shea, Slusser's colleague at the Chronicle, doesn't believe expanded replay will help immediately because, until umpires are better held accountable for their errors, you cannot trust the people overseeing the system. Let's review the news from the American League East:
- Wei-Yin Chen left today's game with what the Orioles are calling a strained right oblique although the lefty hopes it is only a cramp and will be evaluated on their off day, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. The Orioles have several in-house options, if Chen lands on the disabled list, tweets CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, including Jair Jurrjens, who has a June 15 opt-out clause. Jake Arrieta, another possible in-house candidate, did not make his scheduled start in Triple-A today because of a tender shoulder, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN.com (via Twitter).
- The Yankees will soon face some tough decisions regarding roster spots and playing time as several of their injured players are nearing a return to action, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Blue Jays will remain patient with Ricky Romero because of the $23.1MM guaranteed the left-hander through 2015, even if it is just to make him attractive in a trade, according to the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin. That patience will be further tested by Romero's dismal debut at Triple-A Buffalo yesterday: six runs allowed on ten hits with five walks, a balk, and a wild pitch in 3 2/3 innings. "I guess it’s a little disappointing to see those numbers but I know he’s still working hard and I still think he’s on the right path,” Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
The Red Sox have dropped three straight heading into tonight's game against the Blue Jays, but they find themselves very much in the AL East mix early in the season. Boston's front office took some criticism this offseason for their moves, but so far, things are going well for them as their acquisitions are paying off. Here's more on that and other notes out of the AL and NL East..
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) ran down his top ten free agent signings of the winter and the Red Sox make the list twice thanks to Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster. Napoli's deal was in flux for some time thanks to hip troubles, but his current performance could push Boston to consider giving him back his original three-year, $39MM pact. Dempster, meanwhile, turned down a more lucrative offer from the Brewers and seems to have found a home in Boston where he turned in a 2.93 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 through seven starts.
- After switching from Octagon to agent Scott Boras, Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen says that the club has yet to approach him about an extension, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. “I believe [Boras] is a really professional agent and he’s not only helped me on the field, but off the field, too,” Chen said through an interpreter. “I trust him, and I think I will have a better career with him.”
- Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has been the subject of trade speculation for months, but manager Mike Redmond still isn't sure when he'll be back in action after his recent hamstring injury, tweets Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. “We still don’t have time frame for him He’s still a ways off," said the skipper.
The 27-year-old Taiwanese import signed a three-year, $11.388MM contract with the Orioles prior to the 2012 campaign and played an integral part in the team's surprising playoff berth. Chen made 32 starts and racked up 192 2/3 innings, averaging 5.5 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per nine innings pitched, which was good enough to earn him a fourth-place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
Chen isn't the only young pitcher that Boras has added to his clientele this year. Back in February, Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez hired Boras as well. For information on more than 1700 players, check out MLBTR's Agency Database.
Spring Training complexes in Florida and Arizona are starting to come alive with baseball activity, but there are meaningful games already being played all across the country. Stanford right-hander Mark Appel - the current favorite to go first overall in this year's draft - allowed just two hits and one run in seven innings against Vanderbilt yesterday, kicking off the NCAA baseball season. Here's the latest from around the big leagues...
- “We’d all like something resolved by the end of spring training,” said Matt Cain to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com when asked about a contract extension. “I don’t think either side wants that to linger into the season.” Cain has already indicated that he will not give the Giants a hometown discount after already signing one team friendly contract.
- Jon Garland will take his physical on Monday, reports Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland-Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Garland agreed to a minor league deal with the Indians earlier this week, but the physical is far from routine after shoulder surgery.
- Carlos Guillen told MLB.com's Greg Johns that he had other opportunities, but chose to return to the Mariners on a minor league contract. "I decided to come here because this is my first house," he said. "I know the city, and I'm happy to be back."
- Jesus Flores told Amanda Comak of The Washington Times that he hadn't planned on being a backup catcher at this point of his career, but asking the Nationals for a trade is "not on [his] mind." The 27-year-old Flores will backup Wilson Ramos this season.
- Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen hasn't even thrown a pitch since signing a three-year, sub-$12MM deal with Orioles earlier this offseason, but he's already told Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun that he hopes to stay in MLB for the next ten years (Twitter link).
- Rod Barajas told MLB.com's Tom Singer that he's excited to be reunited with A.J. Burnett. Barajas and Burnett played together with the Blue Jays before both landing with the Pirates this offseason.
Luke Scott hit 84 home runs with the Orioles from 2008-11, but his next homer will come as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. The 33-year-old agreed to terms with the Rays earlier today. Here's the latest on his former team...
- Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen has “a good fastball and very good control and a good breaking ball,” GM Dan Duquette told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Chen is a polished pitcher with the physical skills to become a frontline starter, Duquette said. The GM is looking to add durable arms to his rotation, since Jeremy Guthrie was the lone Baltimore pitcher to reach the 200-inning threshold in 2011.
- The Orioles remain concerned about Brian Roberts’ health and are looking for a leadoff hitter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. He suggests Endy Chavez projects as the team’s leadoff hitter at this point.
- The Orioles have been negotiating with former Mets, Brewers and Athletics pitching coach Rick Peterson for more than a week about a pitching role within the organization, Connolly tweets. Duquette remains hopeful that the sides will agree to a deal.
The Orioles reached an agreement with lefty Wei-Yin Chen on a three-year deal worth less than $12MM, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles have since announced the deal, noting that Chen is the first Taiwanese player in team history and the contract includes a club option for 2015.
As a Taiwanese player in Nippon Professional Baseball, Chen had free agency negotiated into his contract with the Chunichi Dragons. Last year in Japan, Chen posted a 2.68 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 0.49 HR/9 in 164 2/3 innings. He ranked 19th on Keith Law's top 50 free agents list. Law offered a positive scouting report, concluding that Chen "offers more upside than the typical NPB refugee, both due to age and the chance for the slider to become a consistently plus pitch." Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette described Chen in a statement: "Chen works off of a 92-94 mile per hour fastball and he uses a hard, slurve-like breaking ball as an out-pitch. He has exceptional command and we like the quality of his pitches to help our team."
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Orioles were close to a multiyear deal with Chen.
The Orioles are close to a multiyear deal with Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. As a foreign player in Nippon Professional Baseball, Chen had free agency negotiated into his contract with the Chunichi Dragons.
Last year in Japan, Chen posted a 2.68 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 0.49 HR/9 in 164 2/3 innings. He ranked 19th on Keith Law's top 50 free agents list. Law offered a positive scouting report, concluding that Chen "offers more upside than the typical NPB refugee, both due to age and the chance for the slider to become a consistently plus pitch." Chen, 26, throws relatively hard for a southpaw, as high as 92-94 when he's right according to Law.
New Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has gone the international route to supplement his rotation, having already added an NPB starter in December in Tsuyoshi Wada.
It was on this day in 2009 that the Mets signed Jason Bay to a four-year, $66MM contract. The deal was almost immediately panned as one of the worst moves of the 2009-10 offseason and time has proven the critics right; Bay has hit just .251/.337/.386 in two injury-plagued years in New York.
Some news items as we head closer to 2012...
- Ryan Madson is "the loser of the offseason," writes Fangraphs' Eric Seidman. With no obvious teams still in need of a long-term closer, Seidman thinks Madson may have to settle for a one-year contract and try again for a multiyear deal next winter. 32.36% of MLBTR readers polled believe Madson will sign with the Angels, with just under 21% picking 'other' and 17.55% picking the Reds. Though LAA and Cincinnati have cheaper closing options in the fold already, they're also looking to win now. They'd both surely jump at Madson on a one-year deal and are probably Madson's only realistic suitors for a multiyear contract, though who knows what Scott Boras may yet pull out of his hat. (The 'other' voters clearly know all about Boras' relationship with the Mystery Team.)
- The Phillies aren't likely to bid on Yoenis Cespedes and Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that Jorge Soler (the other intriguing Cuban outfield prospect on the market the winter) is also too unproven and expensive for the potential $20MM+ contract he could receive from a team.
- Also from Brookover, he lists Jonny Gomes and Scott Hairston as potential targets for the Phillies as the team looks for a fifth outfielder. If the Phils want to spend more to fill the spot, Brookover suggests Cody Ross and Ryan Ludwick.
- The Rangers' January 18 deadline for signing Yu Darvish is also the day the "logjam will break" for Prince Fielder, opines Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. If the Rangers can't sign Darvish, they "will be all over Fielder" to counter the Angels' signing of Albert Pujols.
- There are "roughly six teams that have shown consistent interest" in Wei-Yin Chen, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles are one, the Pirates presumably still another, and the other four are yet unknown.
- Also from Connolly's piece, he predicts Edwin Jackson will find at least a four-year contract on the free agent market and notes that while "Jackson's upside intrigues the Orioles," team management has shied away from that long a commitment to free agent pitchers in the past.
- Pirates closer (and MLBTR fan) Joel Hanrahan tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he doesn't expect to receive a long-term contract offer from the Bucs this winter. Hanrahan is projected to earn around $4MM this winter in his second trip through the arbitration process. He said the team hasn't made contact with him or his representatives yet about his 2012 contract, but this was also the case during his first taste of arbitration last year.
Here's the latest from the AL East....
- The Red Sox are not in on Jair Jurrjens, but the Orioles, Blue Jays, Rockies and Tigers remain in on the Braves right-hander, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Orioles are still interested in Chunichi Dragons left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, and the team has scouted Chen several times in Japan. The O's were linked to Chen earlier this offseason and we've also heard that the PIrates had an interest in the free agent southpaw. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted Chen could be signed for a contract in the neighborhood of four years and under $20MM.
- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria texted the St. Petersburg Times (reported by The Times' Marc Topkin) to deny recent internet rumors that he wanted to leave Tampa Bay. "I don't have any idea where that rumor came from! It's completely false,'' Longoria said. "I've said from the start I love Tampa, I love the direction we are heading as a franchise and there is no better place for me to continue to grow as a player and person.''
- The Yankees have been quiet this winter seemingly in an attempt to avoid a hefty luxury tax penalty next season, but one AL executive doesn't think this strategy will last. "I think they can sit back right now," the anonymous exec told The Star-Ledger's Jeff Bradley, "because on paper they have a very strong team. But do I think the Yankees won't spend aggressively if they start to dip in the win column? Not a chance. I think they'll do what they have to do to win."
- The Athletics wanted right-hander Noah Syndergaard from the Blue Jays as part of any trade for Gio Gonzalez, reported Jeff Blair on the Fan590's Prime Time Sports radio show (passed on by Andrew Stoeten of the Drunk Jays Fans blog.) Syndergaard was drafted 38th overall by Toronto in the 2010 draft and has posted impressive numbers in his first two years of pro ball.
- Earlier today, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith posted a collection of Red Sox notes.